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'■'•His soul was made for the noblest 
society. Wherever there is knowledge, 
wherever there is virtue, wherever 
there is beauty, he will find a home " 


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BY S. L. S. 

A rarely gifted young life has passed from 
our sight. That its memory, enshrined in loving 
hearts, may become an inspiration to others, this 
memorial is prepared by one who knew and loved 
Gardner Nichols from his youth. 

Like some sweet song too soon ended, his life 
— pure, as it was strong ; simple, as it was he- 
roic — is worthy of the imitation of the young 
men of this generation. 

Howard Gardner Nichols, eldest child and 
only son of John Howard and Charlotte Pea- 
body Nichols, was born April 16, 1871, at Haver- 
hill, Massachusetts, where his earliest years were 
passed, and where he received his first instruc- 
tion, at a private kindergarten. His teacher 
writes : " What a glorious truth that every one 
forms his own character. Gardner had the privi- 
lege of carving his own statue ; of giving an ex- 
istence to the ideal of his highest thought of a 
man ; of cultivating himself into the noblest con- 
ception of faithfulness in stewardship. His life 
has been so beautiful, so full of fruit in acts and 
efforts, that I shrink from adding even a word ; 



he was my idol. For two short years it was my 
joy to teach him, and to feel the brightness of 
his sunny presence." 

Removing to Newton, he entered the Bigelow 
School, where he remained until fitted for the 
Boston Latin School. In the summer of 1881, 
with his father, mother, and eldest sister, he went 
to Europe for three months. At the time of his 
graduation from Harvard he said of this trip, 
" Even now I remember most of what I saw and 
did." He kept a little diary, very brief and 
boyish, yet clearly pointing to the tastes of later 
years. We give a few extracts : — 

" July 18. British Museum in a. m. ; Na- 
tional Gallery in p. m. ; liked Landseer's dog 

" July 20. Rotterdam. Drove round ; saw 
many windmills ; to the Hague in p. M. ; to pic- 
ture gallery ; saw Paul Potter's bull — fine pic- 

" July 26. To Munich in a. m. ; women work- 
ing in fields ; cows ploughing ; saw a wild deer ; 

"July 27-31. Went to picture galleries; 
bands ; soldiers ; Schiitzenfest. Saw an impor- 
tant man — the king. 

"August 10. Took early train to Visp; 
walked to St. Nicholas in five hours ; drove on 
to Zermatt ; saw snow mountains — the Matter- 
horn ; saw lights of party ascending. 



" August 14. Chamounix ; Hotel Mt. Blanc ; 
went to church in a. m. ; English service ; very 
srood sermon ; saw Mont Blanc." 

One day, when Gardner was quite young, his 
attention, with that of his father, was attracted 
by an unusual noise in a tree at the back of the 
house. He writes : " It was a perfectly still, cloud- 
less morning, with not a breath of wind stirring. 
On close examination we noticed something red 
bobbing backward and forward on the side of a 
dead limb, near the top of the tree ; my father 
went for his gun, and in a moment an innocent 
little downy woodpecker, a male in full plumage, 
with a beautiful scarlet crest, was our victim. 
I could hardly believe it was he who had caused 
all that noise. This aroused my interest, and 
from that day to this (the spring of 1893), with 
always increasing enthusiasm, I have been a de- 
voted student of ornithology in particular ; of 
all nature in general. This one incident changed 
me from a bookworm to a young naturalist, and 
I went now constantly into the woods. From the 
time I was eleven years old, when I received a 
shotgun, until entering college, I spent every 
Saturday, rain or shine, in the woods." 

In speaking of his life at the Latin School, he 
says : " Here for five years I looked forward to 
the preliminary examinations for Harvard with 
awe. After I had passed these without failure 
in any subject, the finals had no terror for me, 


and I passed them clear, with credit in advanced 
Greek." His parents would have sent him to a 
private preparatory school, but thought it best 
for him to be at home during these years. In 
regard to their opinion he writes : " I must say 
they were wise. I regard any boarding-school 
for young boys as dangerous in the extreme ; it 
is preeminently the time when boys should be at 
home. Then, too, the tendency of private schools 
is to develop cliques, and men from these schools, 
when they reach college, consider they are en- 
titled to special privileges not to be granted to 
those from the public schools ; they believe that 
a private school places them on a higher plane. 
It is this spirit which is doing more to weaken 
our school system than attacks from alien-born 
citizens or religious intolerance. In not patron- 
izing the public schools, we fail to practice what 
most of us at all events preach, the mainte- 
nance of our public school system. I can testify 
most heartily that this is what I have learned 
from four years' observation at college." 

With his father, in the summer of 1888, he 
took a trip across the continent of North America 
by the Canadian Pacific Railway ; and in his jour- 
nal thus vividly describes the approach to Banff : 
" There were mountains on all sides, most of them 
covered with snow ; they were rugged and seemed 
like huge pyramids of rock. We passed a little 
valley with a river flowing through it. Here the 


mountains were thickly wooded at the bottom ; 
halfway up were a few trees only, while the rest 
of the way was steep and rocky. Banff, in the 
Canadian National Park, is 4500 feet above the 
sea level, and is noted for its sulphur baths." 

While here he ascended the higher of the twin 
peaks, taking with him a barometer adjusted to 
tell the height of any mountain. Starting at 
10.30 a. M., he reached home at 5.30 p. m., having 
found the height to be 9000 feet, and the descent 
harder than the ascent. 

After leaving Banff, they went to Glacier. 
" The railroad passes along the side of the canon, 
crossing many bridges, and making very sharp 
turns; the glacier is large, and as fine as any 
in Switzerland." Of course Gardner must make 
the ascent ; and a most exciting adventure it 
proved : " After breakfast, we started to climb the 
glacier; took gun, but left it at the bottom. 
We could see where the glacier was, and how it 
had receded, and began the ascent along its side. 
After climbing five hundred feet, we came to 
many deep fissures or chasms, some wide and 
deep. All of us kept to the side on the rocks as 
long as we could, and then walked on the snow 
and ice ; the guide, Dr. B., myself, and our dog, 
composed the party. At 1500 feet the climbing 
became very hard ; I had a common axe, the doc- 
tor an ice axe, and the guide nothing but the 
lunch. The snow had become so firmly packed 


that it was almost impossible to get footing, while 
the angle we were obliged to climb was about 
fifty degrees, with a deep and wide fissure below. 
When halfway up, Dr. B. slipped, slid downward, 
and tried to get his axe into the snow, but failed, 
he was going quite fast, but, on the second trial, 
managed to get it firmly into the snow ; but he 
had fallen sixty feet toward a chasm — a little 
more and he would have gone into it. We now 
had to climb along the bottom of a perpendicu- 
lar cliff ; went as far as we dared, then told the 
guide it was too dangerous, and started down. The 
guide threw my axe upon what he supposed was 
firm ground, but it slipped, and went into a deep 
fissure. He thought he could drop the lunch all 
right, but that too went into the abyss. Our 
party managed to get down, however, I by sitting 
on the snow, with a sharp stone in either hand, 
letting myself down. The dog climbed about 
with ease. At last we got safely to the foot of 
the glacier, arriving at the hotel at 4.30 P. M. 
In starting out, we crossed a deep chasm on an 
immense rock ; but when we returned, the way 
seemed blocked, and we could not get across. 
While we were upon the glacier, a landslide had 
taken place ; the fissure had opened and swallowed 
up an immense pile of rock." 

This whole diary abounds with interesting 
items, from which we cull bits here and there. 
" Saw Chinese settlements ; the Chinamen work 


for the railroad, or mine for silver or gold. They 
live in miserable huts. . . . All along the Frazer 
River, saw where the Indians caught their salmon, 
drying them on poles with a smoking fire under- 
neath. Mt. Baker could be clearly viewed. It 
is entirely covered with snow, and though sixty 
miles away, loomed up like an immense white 
cloud. The scenery along the Frazer River canon 
is the finest we have seen ; this is a very danger- 
ous part of the road. Took photograph of Mt. 
Baker. We touched the Pacific Ocean at Port 
Moody, and for twelve miles kept along the sea- 
coast. Eclipse of the moon." A visit to the 
coal mines at Franklin was especially interesting 
to Gardner. Our own large cities in the North- 
west were visited, and contrasted with their 
Canadian neighbors. The scenery along the 
Willamette and Columbia rivers was greatly 
enjoyed ; also that of the Yellowstone Park, in 
which the wonderful formations of lime and mag- 
nesia in terraces of different colors, the hot 
springs and geysers, are specially noted. The 
business and industrial enterprises came in for a 
share of critical observation, remarkable in one so 
young, Gardner at this time being only seven- 
teen years old. At Olympia he found " Dwight 
cloth." He took many photographs, which as- 
sisted in making this trip what he later called 
one of the most helpful he had ever made. In 
June, 1889, he graduated from the Latin School. 


The next summer, with his eldest sister, he 
took his second trip to Europe. Making Weimar 
their headquarters, they enjoyed frequent excur- 
sions to the Thuringian forest and the localities 
memorable in connection with the lives of Goethe, 
Schiller, and Martin Luther. 

Gardner entered very heartily into the home 
life of his German friends. One day he proposed 
to Frau G., his hostess, to cook the dinner ; she 
assented, and early the next morning he went to 
the market, accompanied by the maid who was to 
carry his purchases, while Frau G. and his sister 
followed at a distance, enjoying the sight of his 
earnest, intent face as he did his marketing. 

In describing this adventure he writes : " The 
stove is not like ours, there being one flue but two 
fires, — one to heat the oven, the other for the 
open tops. Having no experience with that kind 
of stove, it took a long time to start the fire ; as 
soon as one fire was going well, it would spoil the 
draught of the other, but I at last managed to fix 
the doors and windows so that both would work. 
The oven has a fire directly underneath, and also 
contains a hole with a cover, such as we have on 
the top of our stoves ; potatoes and soup were 
cooking in the oven, but when it was time to 
cook the steak, the fire which heated the open 
part would not burn, so I had to take off the 
soup and broil the steak in the oven, which was 
difficult, as the potatoes were still cooking there. 


At last all was ready. It was greatly in my 
favor that, having waited so long, they were all 
hungry, even the guest whom Frau G. had in- 
vited for this special occasion. When the soup 
was removed, I had everything hot and ready to 
serve ; cucumbers and radishes were ready, the 
steak and peas garnished with parsley, and 
everything was hot and well cooked, though the 
beefsteak was a trifle singed and the potatoes 
somewhat blackened. Frau G. wished me to 
show her how to cook the steak, which they sel- 
dom have here. Indeed, I had to buy a gridiron 
on which to broil it. We had a pretty mould of 
ice-cream, which was very attractive and con- 
sidered a luxury. All pronounced the dinner a 
success, although they had taken the precaution 
to buy an extra quantity of bread, fearing they 
might have to go without dinner. Frau G.'s 
guest at once engaged me to cook for one month 
for her boarding school, which consists of seven- 
teen young ladies." 

Leaving Weimar, Gardner and his sister jour- 
neyed to Leipzig, the latter to remain there for 
study. Before leaving her, Gardner inspected 
her apartment, and thinking it would be difficult 
to escape in case of fire, procured a rope, con- 
structed a fire escape, and did not leave her until 
he was satisfied she understood using it. 

He visited Dresden, Berlin, and Hamburg, 
where he sailed for New York in time to resume 


his studies at Harvard. From the time of land- 
ing at Liverpool he had planned and successfully 
carried out the whole trip, his father giving him 
full liberty. 

The larger portion of the summer of 1891 was 
most profitably spent with a geological class 
under the guidance of professors from leading 
colleges, during which time he visited a number 
of the New England and Middle States. 

Gardner made good use of his time at college, 
studying more to become " a good all-round 
scholar " than to gain distinction in any one 
direction. He arranged for his second sister to 
take a special course at Radcliffe, during his last 
year at Harvard, preparatory to her spending 
some years in study abroad, and watched her 
progress with keen interest. Towards the end of 
his college course, he said : " If I had only given 
a little more time to one special subject, I might 
graduate ' cum laude.' " He was agreeably sur- 
prised when he did graduate " cum laude," with 
honorable mention in history and natural history. 

While at Harvard, he formed a friendship 
with a fellow fraternity man, Herbert N., and 
later with his brother Matthew, the three becom- 
ing bound by closest ties. They were often at 
Gardner's home, while in the summer of 1892 he 
made his first visit to their beautiful home in 
Minnesota, where the whole family became greatly 
attached to him and he to them. Writing of a 


sail up the Mississippi with his friends, he says : 
" The scenery is as fine as any I have seen. The 
bluffs all along the river are of limestone, the 
deep valleys receding from the river to the prairies. 
The rocks, which only appear at the tops of the 
bluffs, often resemble castles ; their sides are 
wooded, and at one place the hills were covered 
with vineyards transplanted from the Rhine." 
He was charmed with Western people and their 
hospitality, and their hearts were won by his 
sunny, manly disposition. 

In 1893, after enjoying the World's Fair, he 
visited his friends a second time. The three 
young men were exceedingly congenial in their 
tastes, and devoted to each other. They had 
profited by travel, both at home and abroad, by 
the best educational advantages, and all were 
musical. They were well-read, well-bred, pure, 
true-hearted, noble fellows, with an earnest pur- 
pose in life, and an enthusiastic desire to benefit 
and elevate their fellow-men. 

Immediately after the summer of 1893, and in 
accord with his settled purpose to connect him- 
self with the cotton manufacturing interest, in 
which his father was engaged, Gardner com- 
menced work with the Great Falls Company at 
Somersworth, New Hampshire, and later with 
the Dwight Company, where every opportunity 
was afforded him to see the working of each 
department. He devoted his entire energy to a 


thorough mastery of the subject, showing a re- 
markable grasp and facility of comprehension. 
His contented disposition, power of concentration, 
and happy faculty of adapting himself to circum- 
stances endeared him to all. From Great Falls 
he writes : " I like the mills better than I antici- 
pated, but find myself tired when night comes. 
Am pleasantly located, and spend my evenings 
in reading and practicing on my violin." He 
was greatly interested in studying the details of 
the work, felt he was gaining insight into the 
business, mastered the technical terms, and found 
time for occasional tramps. 

In February, 1894, he and his friend Matthew 
ascended Chocorua, and of this trip he writes: 
" We started Friday a. m. ; reached "West Ossi- 
pee about 1.30, and took stage for Tamworth, 
four miles away. From there we drove to 
Fowle's Mills, near where the farmer lives with 
whom we were to stay. Friday night it began to 
snow, and continued to do so all Saturday ; but 
we took our snowshoes, and tramped through the 
woods most of the day. Sunday was clear and 
cold, so we put on our snowshoes again, and 
started for Chocorua's peak. We found it hard 
traveling ; the snow was soft, and from three to 
four feet on a level. At two o'clock we reached 
the top of the ridge, got into the house, and 
built a fire. At four we started for the summit, 
four hundred feet above us, and looking like the 


top of the Matterhom. It was all snow and ice, 
and so steep we could not at first climb it ; but 
we procured an axe and rope from the house, and 
after an hour's work reached the top. It was 
blowing so hard one could not stand up. The 
top is flat, and about six feet square. There was 
a beautiful view all about us. I think Chocorua 
one of the finest mountains in New Hampshire. 
We reached the house on the ridge all right, but 
it was six o'clock, and the sun had gone down. 
The moon, however, gave us plenty of light, and 
we had a fine walk home, reaching the house 
about eight o'clock, well repaid for our trip. 
This locality surpasses almost anything in the 
mountains I have yet seen. We were very near 
all those peaks of which Mr. Bolles speaks so 

In the spring of 1894 he took up his resi- 
dence in Chicopee to continue his industrial 
work. March 17 he writes : " It is about the 
same here as at Great Falls. Mr. and Mrs. C. 
do everything to make my stay pleasant, and I 
spend most of my evenings at their house. They 
have devoted an especial chair and table to my 
use. Mr. C. makes it a point to let me know 
just what is going on, and as I have a desk in 
his office, can see all the details of management. 
He goes through the mills with me about every 
day, calling my attention to impoi'tant things to 
be remembered. Though I thought when at 


Great Falls I could not learn as much anywhere 
else, find I can get a great deal more here." 

When he left the Dwight Company the agent 
wrote of him : " I have never met his equal in all 
my life for honor and capacity." 

From Chicopee he writes : " Walked all through 
the Mt. Tom range from the house on Nonotuck 
to the peak opposite Holyoke. There is one spe- 
cies of bird, the duck-hawk, which is found breed- 
ing on Mt. Tom, and nowhere else in the State. 
I wanted very much to locate the birds, and, for- 
tunately, think I know just where they will build. 
The cliffs on Mt. Tom, where the duck-hawks 
breed, face the west, and are formed by the 
crumbling away of the basaltic trap. They are 
not bare, but covered with Norway and pitch 
pine. The valley stretching south is simply 
beautiful, all taken up by fine fields, with here 
and there a clump of evergreen trees, and re- 
minds me of the country about Weimar. It is 
very impressive to-day, looking off over the val- 
ley, for everything is still, except for the hens, 
chickens, and an occasional turkey gobbler. The 
crows have full sway. Easthampton and North- 
ampton appear to be sleeping, and in the back- 
ground is the little church-spire of Westhamp- 
ton, three or four miles away." He notes finding 
the first violet, seeing the first butterfly, and on 
his walk from Holyoke to Chicopee, heard the 
croaking of the first frog. 


When it became known that the Dwight Man- 
ufacturing Company proposed to establish a mill 
in the South, Mr. Nichols, Senior, received nu- 
merous letters pressing the claims and setting 
forth the advantages of various sites ; and, with 
Gardner, visited many places in order to find the 
best possible location. It was finally decided to 
build at the foot of Lookout Mountain in north- 
ern Alabama. In September of 1894, Gardner 
went South to arrange for and superintend this 
work. One or two extracts from his diary will 
show that he still keenly observed nature in the 
midst of engrossing cares. 

"November 10, 1894. Finished survey of 
Black Creek at noon ; afternoon in office ; 
tufted tit, winter wren, common chickadee, 
pygmy nuthatch, golden-crowned kinglets, hairy 
woodpecker; weather colder than any this au- 
tumn ; saw no blackbirds ; think they must have 

" November 15. Car works office in morning ; 
out to Alabama City in afternoon ; several hun- 
dred plover along Black Creek ; flock of 250 
meadow-larks in bicycle track ; have been there 
at least three weeks ; saw some on top of a high 
oak, singing a soft plaintive song of four or five 

November 29 he arrived in Newton in time 
for his Thanksgiving dinner, finding among other 
guests Matthew N. and his sister. During this 


visit, he spent two mornings with Matthew in his 
old room at Cambridge, and both were grieved 
to hear that Herbert, Matthew's brother, was 
ill, but it was thought " he would soon be all 

Gardner returned South, reaching Gadsden 
December 15, where the first great grief of his 
life awaited him. He writes home : " We reached 
here in good health and spirits, Saturday noon, 
but all was soon completely changed. As I 
left the train, a telegram, which had been wait- 
ing two days, was handed me, and I was made 
aware that Herbert N. was dead. I couldn't 
believe it, and can't realize it even now. Just 
think of it ! Have n't heard particulars yet, but 
shall in a day or two." Later he learned that his 
friend was taken ill on the evening of Thanks- 
giving Day, the result of a cold, contracted on 
a shooting trip, and died after a brief illness. 
Gardner was greatly overcome by this sudden 
blow, but comforted himself by writing, " I still 
have Matthew." 

In January, 1895, Gardner writes to his mo- 
ther : " The weather has been fine since papa 
came ; he enjoys the place very much ; we have 
ridden horseback together a great deal. I am 
singing bass in the quartette in the Episcopal 
church, and had a solo last Sunday ; enjoy this 
country more and more ; we have had good wea- 
ther all winter so far. All the birds we have in 


Massachusetts during the summer are with us 
now, the frogs can be heard croaking almost any 
night, and the bats are flying around ; mocking- 
birds, bluebirds, and robins are singing all the 
time. I am glad you had Matthew and his sister 
to dine with you. Think Matthew is quite poorly 
from the shock he has experienced. Will write 
grandma now." 

To his grandmother he says : "I write this 
letter as a birthday remembrance, and to offer my 
congratulations on your eightieth anniversary. 
Mamma writes you are in excellent health, for 
which we are all very grateful. I hope you will 
take the best care of yourself in the future, as 
you have in the past, and not worry about lands 
and lots and trespassers, and the like. The 
contract for the mill was let last week ; we shall 
begin building at once, and hope to have the 
mill running by November next. Wishing you 
many happy returns of the day, ever your affec- 
tionate grandson." 

Now followed a time of the greatest activity, 
requiring the utmost patience, watchfulness, and 
tact, and to this work he devoted all his well- 
trained powers, with the most gratifying results. 
His father's visits were helpful, and Gardner 
always managed so to combine business and 
pleasure that his father enjoyed the visits, and 
benefited by them as from a brief holiday. 

March 15, 1895, he writes: "Am now located 


at the office in Alabama City. I go out there at 
six o'clock in the morning, returning for break- 
fast at 7.30 ; after that go down town to attend 
to whatever business there may be, then out to 
the factory again ; back for dinner ; to the fac- 
tory again, where I stay until supper, at six. 
Later, go down town and finish correspondence, 
then to the telegraph office and take a lesson in 
telegraphy. I do not get much time to practice 
on my violin, but hope to soon. We have a good 
quartette at the Episcopal church, where I sing 
bass. Choir rehearses twice a week, which I 
enjoy. Am feeling well, but get tired by night, 
after rushing around all day." Though so busy, 
he found time to do much for this little church 
in Gadsden, raising money for a new organ, and 
assisting in other ways. 

He was still feeling the loss of his friend Her- 
bert, but had some consolation in trying to com- 
fort Matthew and Mr. N. in their affliction, and 
was a great help to them. Matthew never ral- 
lied from the blow, and when he took a slight 
cold in our bleak March weather, had no power 
of resistance, and after an illness of a few days 
he, too, fell asleep. Gardner left for Minnesota 
on receipt of the news, and on March 31 wrote 
home : " You can imagine how they feel ; it is 
hard to realize that both the boys are gone, and 
all within three months. Shall miss them very, 
very much, for I counted them my best friends. 


You need not worry about me, as I suppose you 
will, for I am well and strong. We must all die 
some time, and 1 am not troubled about that ; 
shall die like all others at the appointed time." 

On April 6, he says : " Matthew's funeral was 
private, and at the close of the simple service, we 
went up to the little cemetery on the side of the 
Bluffs, overlooking the river, and laid him close 
beside Herbert. The whole service was lovely, 
just as he would have wished, even to the singing 
of the hymns, ' My Jesus, as thou wilt ' and 
1 Now the day is over.' It is a comfort to think 
that Herbert and Matthew are together, for 
Matthew could not be left alone. I am sure he 
died of a broken heart, as he was physically 
sound in every respect." 

April 15, after describing his journey back to 
Alabama, he tells his mother : " Am glad papa 
is coming down, though I wish you could come 
too ; it is delightful here now, and I am sure it 
will do him much good. The apple and other 
fruit blooms are out, and the trees are green. 
There are great numbers of birds, too, many spe- 
cies which I have never seen before, and do wish 
I had some spare time to study them. I feel 
much rested after my two weeks' vacation ; it is 
well I got off ; was very tired. W. is a lovely, 
restful place, and the home of the N.'s most 
delightful ; it is dreadfully lonely, though, with- 
out the boys, and you don't know how I miss 


them. Yesterday was Easter, and a beautiful day. 
I did not sing in the choir, as, being away, had 
not attended the rehearsals ; the music was very 
good, and the little church prettily decorated." 
The next day he again writes : " This is my 
birthday ; it has been showery all day, and now it 
thunders and lightens. It is hard to tell where 
twenty-four years have gone, and I am glad they 
do not number more. Wish you could be here, 
and hope next year you may. I have had a 
pretty easy life thus far — for twenty-three years 
and a half, at least — a great deal to be thank- 
ful for. I owe it all to you and papa, and if I 
have n't seemed to appreciate it, it was because I 
did n't fully realize it before. Of course I can 
see mistakes, but only experience shows us these. 
Think I am pretty well started; have a good 
chance, better than most fellows, and shall work 
hard to benefit by it ; it is a good experience for 
me down here in every respect, and am glad 
the opportunity offered itself ; shall try to write 
oftener to you." 

In another letter on the 22d of April he says : 
" Received yours this morning ; much obliged for 
the two books, the one by Mr. Bolles is very 
lovely. I had to go to Chattanooga last Wednes- 
day, where I surprised papa and came back with 
him. He had a bad cough, but the weather 
has been warm and pleasant, and think he is 
now much better. I sent you a little souvenir 


of Lookout Mountain and surrounding places of 
historic interest. Have not forgotten that next 
Wednesday is your birthday, and hope this will 
reach you on time. It is beautiful here now, and 
am sorry you could not come with papa. The 
leaves are out, and there are lots of birds and 
flowers ; only wish I had three hours a day to 
spend in the woods. Yesterday — Sunday — 
papa and I went to the hotel on the mountain, and 
took dinner ; in the afternoon we walked to the 
Falls, gathering flowers on the way ; the azaleas 
are in full bloom, pink, white, and some varie- 
gated. There are quantities of yellow jasmine, 
which grows upon the trees like ivy, with a trum- 
pet-like flower, very fragrant ; also the blossom of 
the wild crab-apple, which we found in bloom ; in 
fact, there are too many flowers to mention, and 
wish C. could be here to gather them. This morn- 
ing, papa is looking over the work and laying out 
a reservoir ; he enjoys being out of doors, and it 
is good for him. Yesterday morning he went to 
our little church, and 1 sang a solo, ' O rest in 
the Lord.' I sing one every other Sunday. Hope 
C. is getting on well with her music — she ought 
to be able to play my accompaniments at sight by 
this time. Tell her to stick to it ; I '11 bring my 
violin when I come in June, which I hope now 
to do. With best wishes for a happy birthday, 
and many happy returns, I am your affectionate 


A few days later, April 28, he writes to the 
father of Herbert and Matthew a letter which 
gives, taken in connection with those already 
quoted, an idea of the beauty and seriousness of 
his character : — 

" This is Sunday afternoon, and I am sitting 
on the highest ledge on the eastern side of Look- 
out Mountain, overlooking the country for miles 
around. It is such a beautiful day that I sad- 
dled my horse after dinner and came up here to 
write letters. We had a very interesting sermon 
read this morning, at our little church ; one by 
Phillips Brooks, entitled, ' Help from the hills.' 
The text was Psalm cxxi. 1, ' I will lift up mine 
eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.' 
The central truth of it is the duty of every one 
of us to seek help from the highest source ; it is 
trouble that tests us and shows what sort of men 
we are ; it is the time of need that lets us see 
what men think of themselves, how seriously 
they contemplate their own existence, how they 
estimate their need by letting us see from whence 
they seek their help. One man turns instinc- 
tively to the lowest, and another to the highest, 
in his need ; and so it is that, in their own way, 
our hours of need become our judgment days. 
It is a beautiful sermon all the way through. 
There is one place, especially, which appeals to 
us all at this particular time. Bishop Brooks 
says, ' It is a wondrous change when a man stops 


asking of his distress, How can I throw this off ? 
and asks instead, What did God mean by send- 
ing this ? Then he may well believe that time 
and work will help him. Time, with its neces- 
sary calming of the first surface tumult, will let 
him look deeper and deeper into the divine pur- 
pose of the sorrow, and will let its deepest and 
most precious meanings gradually come forth, so 
that he may see them. Work done in the sor- 
row will bring him into ever new relations to 
the God in whom alone the full interpretation 
and relief of the sorrow lies.' Time and work, 
not as means of escape from distress, but as the 
hands in which distress shall be turned hither 
and thither, that the light of God may freely 
play upon it; it is a beautiful thought, and I 
know you realize its full meaning. 

" I am sitting on the top of a ledge, overhang- 
ing a precipice, several hundred feet high ; below 
me is what is known as Owl's Valley, about 
nine hundred feet down and not over half a 
mile wide, while behind is a forest of second- 
growth hard pine, through which the wind is 
sighing most sweetly, for there is quite a breeze 
just now, the forerunner of a coming tempest, 
which I can see approaching from the north. I 
will wait until it comes, and then crawl into a 
crevice of the ledge below and watch the storm 
go by ; it is not half a mile off now, so I '11 


unsaddle my horse and get into the cave at 
once. . . . 

" I got in just in time, for now it is raining 
hard; the sun is shining off in the west, and 
there is a most beautiful rainbow just before me, 
making a complete arch in the sky. The birds 
have been singing all around me till now, and, 
as suddenly as the storm approached, they have 
taken to their shelter and are silent, save some 
tame geese that I can just see with my glass in 
the valley below; they seem highly delighted, 
and though they are so far away, their gabble 
can be distinctly heard. There has been a pygmy 
flycatcher on a dead tree near by, which has 
amused me greatly ; he darts off into the air in 
a spiral course upward, catching without fail the 
insect he is after, then, instead of spiraling back 
to his perch again, he invariably darts head-first 
down to the same dead limb ; he has had a real 
good meal since I've been watching him. An 
old turkey buzzard has just alighted on a pine 
not far off, and is eying me wistfully, as though 
he wished I might tumble down the ledge and 
break my neck. There he goes ; he has un- 
doubtedly given me up as not worth wasting 
time on. 

" The storm has passed ; it was much less of 
one than I anticipated, for it only rained * pitch- 
forks,' with no lightning accompaniment at all, 
though it had been thundering in that direction 


for some time previous to its arrival. I missed 
seeing the lightning strike in the valley ; but I 
shall have a pleasure which, perhaps, I might not 
have had if the storm had been more severe and 
lasted longer, for the rain has freshened every- 
thing, even the souls of the birds, and they are 
all singing vociferously. Now, if you only knew 
the songs of the different birds, the mere men- 
tion of their names would carry you into the 
woods and you could hear them singing, even 
though you were sitting on the sofa in your 
library. Near by me, a black -throated green 
warbler is lisping away all to himself ; down in 
the valley are several song-thrushes and a mock- 
ing-bird vying with one another. Chewinks, pine- 
warblers, now and then a great-crested flycatcher, 
scarlet tanagers, yellow-breasted chats, vireos, 
redbirds, and sparrows of several varieties — a 
veritable aviary — are all around me. 

" But I have n't mentioned the most beautiful 
of all — the landscape and the clouds. Before 
me, at the foot of the mountain, is Owl's Valley, 
with a stream running tortuously through it ; be- 
yond, half a mile away, is a ridge, perhaps three 
hundred feet high, running parallel to it; be- 
yond this is the lovely valley of the Coosa, and 
fifteen miles away the mountains begin again, 
rising range on range for thirty or forty miles ; 
on the south are more high hills, looking as 
though they would bar the river's course, but it 


finds a break in the walls and flows nearly eight 
hundred miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Looking 
northeast there is an expanse of lowlands extend- 
ing forty miles, broken here and there by iso- 
lated mountains, standing by themselves like the 
Egyptian pyramids. It is not exactly a New 
England scene, yet it calls to mind the river 
Matthew and I looked down upon from Cho- 
corua's peak, only then snow was over every- 
thing ; but now the dark green of the pines, 
broken by the lighter greens of the oaks and 
maples, with the evening sun lighting them up 
and down the valley, affords a marked contrast to 
that scene. The sun, which since the storm has 
been concealed, is just breaking through the 
clouds. Part of the sky is blue, and part is hid- 
den by dark purple clouds, while here and there 
a great piece of cumulus, lower than the rest, 
glows a gorgeous crimson, its great folds shaded 
with purple. Resting on the serrated tops of the 
little mountains are large masses of great white 
clouds looking like glaciated mountain-tops. Do 
you remember the Olympian Mountain range, 
just at the mouth of Puget Sound ? I saw those 
mountains at early sunrise, when just their snow- 
capped tops were visible above the morning mist ; 
they seemed to be almost overhead, and the sun, 
not yet discernible above the horizon, shone on 
them till they were a gorgeous crimson. I 
thought at first they were really clouds ; and 


now these great banks of cumulus, floating above 
the horizon, call me back to the deck of the 
steamer on Puget Sound. As I write, all has 
changed to a pink effect, and the highest ridge I 
see looks as if it were covered with pink azaleas, 
and the whole sky is reflecting them ; it is fast 
fading, and in half an hour it will be dark, for 
the twilight here is very short. I miss the sun- 
sets we have at home, for though their beau- 
ties are more subdued, they last longer ; after all, 
there is nothing more inspiring or more elevating 
than to watch the sky at sunset from some high 

"This recalls the sweet memory of the last 
sunset Herbert and I watched from the top of 
the bluffs above W. What a difference it would 
make in our lives if we could always live on the 
top of hills ; our ills would seem less wearisome, 
and we should always be hopeful, no matter 
what business worries hung over us in the office. 
Whenever I am tired out, an hour spent on 
Lookout Mountain makes me feel like another 
fellow. Well, the night-hawks are flying about, 
and whippoorwills are calling from the valley : — 

' Now the day is over, 

Night is drawing nigh, 
Shadows of the evening, 
Steal across the sky.' 

If I do not take advantage of what light is 
left, shall have a difficult ride home. 


"Saturday, May 4. 

" I 've had this letter all the week, and meant 
to have written another, this seems such a scribble, 
but I 've not had a moment's time." 

The work on the mill progressed with the trials, 
delays, and discouragements incident to an under- 
taking of such magnitude, but on the whole with 
much less friction than might reasonably be 
expected. On Christmas, 1895, a button was 
pressed in a distant city, which set the wheel of 
the great Corliss engine in motion. The " Ala- 
bama State Herald " of December 28 devoted 
several columns to a description of the mill and 
its surroundings. Speaking of Gardner, this 
article says : " He has a most pleasing address, 
keeps a cool head with unswerving devotion to 
duty, and it is an inspiration to see the enthusi- 
asm with which he takes hold of every detail of 
the business. I took a walk up one of the streets 
of the new town, over whose future Mr. Nichols 
is having no end of pleasant speculation. He 
declares it shall be a model village, with no con- 
cealed weapons, no saloons concealed or uncon- 
cealed ; that there will be ample public schools, a 
public library and reading-room, and a handsome 
union church. There are 150 cottages build- 
ing and completed ; a pleasing and striking fea- 
ture of them will be the absence of sameness or 
monotony. Mr. Nichols has a remarkably win- 


ning expression for a Republican, which he avows 
to be his politics, as though it were something of 
which to be proud." 

March 8, 1896, Gardner sent a letter to his 
grandmother, which gives briefly his view of the 
village, as follows : " It is not very often that 
I write, but do not think I am forgetful of you ; 
you can hardly realize what a busy time I have. 
Am on the jump from early morning till late at 
night. The mill is now started, but it will be 
June before we have everything in operation ; the 
work is going wonderfully well, and I am much 
encouraged. "We have our village nearly com- 
pleted, and as there are trees all about, it gives 
it a very restful appearance. I only wish you 
could see it. Have started a school, a Sunday- 
school, and a church service ; it is very interesting 
work, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Have a nice 
little house of five rooms and bath ; two colored 
servants, a man and his wife." 

On his last birthday, April 16, 1896, he wrote 
to the eldest of his three sisters, whose birthday 
had just passed, a letter of congratulation, and 
in speaking of the future, says : " I certainly 
hope the years to come will be as full of pleas- 
ure and good fortune as the past have been, for, 
taking it all in all, every one of us has had a 
remarkably smooth road to travel thus far. Of 
course many things might have been improved, 
but so it must always be. All of us children 


should be especially thankful that through these 
years we have had such good parents, who have 
done so much for us. The older we grow, the 
more we shall appreciate it. As for myself, 
I could not be happier, for it would not be possi- 
ble to find an equally interesting and absorbing 
occupation. It gives a chance for business and 
philanthropy, for work and study. I shall not 
want to come away until my ideal is reached, and 
hope I may not have to do so, much as I should 
like to see you all, and be in Boston." 

In May, he welcomed his parents — the first 
visit his mother had made to his Southern home. 
It was a very busy time, all effort directed to- 
wards setting the last pieces of machinery in 
motion. He took great pride in showing his 
mother what he had accomplished, and in ex- 
plaining his plans for the future of his village. 

Before daylight on the morning of May 20, he 
went to the mill to superintend the moving of 
an electric generator which had reached the yard 
during the night, and which he was very desirous 
should be in position early that morning. The 
men had moved it along nearly to the bridge 
crossing from the storehouses to the main build- 
ing ; with the light of their lanterns a hasty 
examinatiou was made to see that everything 
was secure. The machine had been moved but a 
short distance on the bridge, when the latter gave 
way, and Gardner fell with it, the machine strik- 


ing him, and inflicting dreadful internal injuries. 
He was moved to the drug-store, where local 
physicians were summoned. There he remained, 
bearing his suffering most bravely, till the arrival 
late that night of a surgeon from Chattanooga, 
when he was removed to his cottage. Early the 
next morning an operation was performed, which 
revealed such conditions that the operating sur- 
geon informed his parents he could not survive, 
and would probably live but a few hours. 

After he had recovered from the immediate 
effect of the surgical treatment his parents had 
an interview with him, and noting the deep feel- 
ing which they in vain endeavored to suppress, he 
said, " You evidently think there is no hope for 
me ; " and then, " I feel better than before the 
operation, and while there is life there is hope." 
His father thought best he should know the opin- 
ion of the surgeon, when, after a moment's pause, 
without emotion, he remarked, " Well, I am ready 
to go, but I would like to live to finish my work 
here." Later he seemed to be sinking, but ral- 
lied, and showed such vitality that it was thought 
there might be hope for him. 

When the operatives began to occupy the 
houses, they brought sickness with them, which 
soon became epidemic ; and as arrangements for 
a resident physician had not been completed, 
Gardner procured medicines, and, as he wrote 
his mother at the time, was " physician, nurse, 


and undertaker," working hard throughout the 
day, and ready for calls which came at all hours 
of the night. 

Because of this interest in their welfare, he 
had greatly endeared himself to his little com- 
munity, and when this accident occurred, the 
greatest anxiety and sorrow prevailed. It was 
touching to hear the expressions of affection and 
sympathy, numbers begging that they might see 
him once more, and saying he was the best friend 
they had ever known. One of his assistants, 
who had been intimately associated with him 
from the first, was confident he would recover, 
saying, " Mr. Nichols has been such an example 
in this community for everything that is good, it 
does n't seem possible that he will be allowed to 
die." This interest of his operatives was re- 
ciprocated by Gardner, for he was often heard 
expressing the wish that he might be permitted 
to live to help his people. His friends from 
the adjoining city of Gadsden, who from the 
first refused to leave him, were unremitting in 
loving service; trained nurses were obtained, 
and Dr. H. was brought from Atlanta, remain- 
ing from Friday till Sunday morning. Eight 
days after the accident, the doctor returned with 
a special train in which to remove him to his 

Before leaving Alabama City, forgetful of his 
constant suffering, Gardner insisted upon seeing 


his leading foremen. He gave them definite in- 
structions as to the work, and to one of the 
physicians in charge of his operatives his last 
words were : " Doctor, look well after my people, 
and let none of them die while I am away." 
Among others, two little boys from Gadsden 
came to bid him good-by. They were great 
friends of his, and he was much pleased to see 
them as they came in, daintily dressed, bringing 
flowers. He greeted them cheerfully, saying, 
" R. B., I am delighted to see you, and little 
Conrad too." After a brief stay they were taken 
back to their homes, three miles away ; but in 
the afternoon, after Gardner had been placed in 
the car, sturdy little R. B. came bounding in, hav- 
ing begged a passing teamster to take him over 
to see his Mr. Gardner once more. 

The journey of one hundred and fifty miles to 
Atlanta was comfortably made; on arrival, the 
mayor of the city was at the station, and insisted 
on walking beside the stretcher to the sanitarium, 
about half a mile distant. Here all were devoted 
in their ministrations, and everything possible 
was faithfully and lovingly done. It seemed at 
one time as though the brave spirit would conquer 
the lacerated body, and life be spared, and in 
this hope, his father left for home to attend to 
some pressing duties. But soon after his de- 
parture, Gardner had an unfavorable turn, and 
gradually grew weaker, falling peacefully asleep 


at five o'clock on the afternoon of June 23. As 
hopes of his recovery had been entertained, his 
death came as a great blow to those who had 
noted each change, and as the daj's passed on 
had grown more and more hopeful. The daily 
papers kept his friends at Gadsden and Ala- 
bama City informed of his condition, and at the 
end were most kindly in their expressions of 

The " Chattanooga Times " said : — 
" Mr. Nichols was only twenty-five years old, 
yet he had sole management of the construction 
of the large cotton mill of the Dwight Manu- 
facturing Company at Alabama City, and was a 
young man of exceptional ability. His death has 
cast a gloom over Gadsden, for he was beloved 
by all who knew him." 

The " Birmingham State Herald : "— 
"In the death of Mr. Nichols, this section 
loses one of her best citizens. He was loved by 
everybody, and was a leader among men." 

A local paper : " All the chances were in his 
favor, so far as health, strength, nerve, a well- 
kept body and a life of temperate habits were 
concerned, but the odds were against him from 
the start, as from the terrible nature of his inju- 
ries, it was impossible for him, or any human 
being, to live and struggle back to health ; but he 
made a brave, strong fight for life, and if ever a 
man deserved to live, he did. The entire city 


regrets the young man's death, and none more 
than the ' Tribune.' He bade fair to rise to 
eminent heights in the business world, and it is 
always sad to see a life so full of promise go out 
in its bloom." 

Every morning, so long as he was able, he 
read the service from the Prayer Book, his nurse 
reading it for him the last day, shortly before he 
lapsed into unconsciousness. The letters of his 
nurses to his mother best tell of his last hours. 

One writes : " I hardly know how to begin, 
but perhaps you would like to know that your 
boy was not afraid of any fate that awaited him. 
One morning he wanted to get up and stand on 
the floor, and I said, ' Why, my dear Mr. Nichols, 
don't you know you can't do that, — it would 
almost kill you.' He looked at me with a smile, 
saying, ' Do you know, I 've been thinking, and 
I 'm not afraid to die. It is hard to tell just 
how this is going to end, but I do not fear the 
consequences.' The morning before he left us, 
I read the service to him. After Miss B. went 
down, he had me read more, then we talked 
about his little village. I asked him what de- 
nomination the church in the village would be, to 
which he answered, ' It will belong to all alike.' 
He was quiet a moment, then said, ' I feel I have 
done my duty to God and man ; I have been 
attending the Episcopal Church in Gadsden 


regularly, and have been benefited, and believe 
all is well with me.' I wanted to tell you these 
things while you were here, but could not, nay 
heart was too full. He spoke often of his home, 
his village and his people, the little children he 
so loved, of his youngest sister, whom he wanted 
to see, and often in his delirium at night he would 
think i" was his little sister. You don't know 
how I sympathize with you in your loss, and 
wish it might have been otherwise; if such a 
thing had been possible, I would gladly have 
given years of my life to have saved your boy. 
Such a life as his is a loss, not only to those who 
loved him, for we don't know what the world 
has lost." 

As soon as the news of his death reached 
Gadsden, a meeting of the City Government was 
called, and the Hon. R. A. Mitchell, mayor of 
the city, and Mr. T. S. Kyle were appointed a 
committee to accompany the remains to Boston, 
and gave great help and comfort to the bereaved 
mother on the sad journey. 

On the afternoon of June 27, when all nature 
seemed to welcome him who loved her so well, 
friends far and near, from the South and West, 
gathered at the Newton home to pay their last 
tribute of respect and affection. It was fitting 
he should be laid among flowers, and rarely 
beautiful they were. A large shaft was sent 


by the employees of the Dwight Manufacturing 
Company at Chicopee, who could only be re- 
strained from the most lavish giving by the 
agent's telling them " Mr. Nichols would not ap- 
prove of extravagance." Rev. Dr. Calkins read 
comforting passages from the Scriptures. Rev. 
Dr. Davis made appropriate remarks, with selec- 
tions from favorite hymns ; and a prayer and 
benediction closed the simple and beautiful ser- 

All that is mortal of Howard Gardner Nichols 
now rests in Mount Auburn. 

A memorial service was held at Alabama City 
at the same hour as that at Newton. 

A lady intimately associated with Gardner in 
his philanthropic work writes : — 

" Out of respect to you we decided to have 
Dr. Richardson, the Presbyterian minister, con- 
duct the service, assisted by Mr. Agricola, lay- 
reader in the Episcopal Church, as Mr. Gardner 
worshiped with us, and loved our service. We 
learned that Dr. Richardson was in Kentucky, 
so Mr. Agricola took the lead, assisted by Dr. 
Boydston, the minister of the Cumberland Pres- 
byterian Church, who, having been almost con- 
stantly with us, was well acquainted with Mr. 
Gardner. The lady organist of the Gadsden 
church presided at the organ. The hall was 


filled with sympathizing friends. Special seats 
were reserved for Hattie and Gates, Gardner's 
devoted colored servants. 

" The service began with the hymn, ' Hark ! 
Hark! my Soul,' then all the congregation re- 
peated the Apostles' Creed. Mr. Agricola read 
the Litany, after which was sung, ' Asleep in 
Jesus ; ' then the burial service ; the beautiful 
Psalms by Mr. Agricola and the congregation. 
Dr. Boydston made some excellent remarks, 
dwelling on the fine points we all so much ad- 
mired. Mr. Agricola said he could not let this 
opportunity pass without expressing his thanks 
for the moral lessons he had learned from his 
observation of Mr. Gardner's daily life. One 
was his great patience. No matter what busi- 
ness pressed, he gave each person (and there 
were often crowds) an attentive, interested hear- 
ing. He listened to their troubles and comforted 
them. Again, he was no respecter of persons. 
The workingman, soiled by labor, had his turn, 
even if he did come in advance of the man in 
goodly attire. Then there was his keen appre- 
ciation of the force of example, his daily trying 
to do as he would be done by, and sacrificing 
personal pleasure where the indulgence might be 
a stumbling-block to some weaker brother. Mr. 
Agricola closed by reading one of Mr. Gardner's 
favorite hymns, one he often sang and played 


upon his violin, 'Now the clay is over.' The 
last two stanzas are particularly beautiful : — 

' Through the long night watches, 

May Thine angels spread 

Their white wings ahove me, 

Watching round my hed. 

4 When the morning wakens, 

Then may I arise, 
Pure, and fresh, and sinless, 
In Thy holy eyes.' " 


"The Eiffel Alp, Zebmatt. 
" While at Berlin, a home letter told me of 
the accident. Curiously enough I had just been 
talking with Gardner in a dream, and the news 
came all the more directly home to me. I looked 
eagerly for news, and rejoiced when all seemed 
hopeful, and grew sad at every bad report. I 
cannot tell you how much moved I was at the 
news which came to me only yesterday. He had 
been making such a gallant fight that I felt he 
must come out all right. I simply cannot write at 
all calmly. I am completely unstrung. I knew 
little of what Gardner had been doing in the 
South, but mother sends me an account of his 
noble activity there. I have seen so much of self- 
ish indulgence, idle dalliance, and wasted oppor- 
tunity in my short experience that the thought 
of even so short a career of honest effort, hard 
work, and sympathetic devotion to others seems 
a long life and a well-rounded career in compari- 
son. The thought of what such a life, spared, 
might be, is what comes home so crushingly upon 
us. What such a life eternally is, is the truer 
thought, I fancy." 


A classmate at school and college says : — 
" I feel his loss very keenly, but as I think of 
him and look back upon his life, I feel sure that 
my life will be made better for having come in 
contact with his." 

The following tells its own story : — 
" Although I have never seen you, I feel very 
much drawn to you because I was so fond of your 
son Gardner. I want to express my sorrow and 
sympathy, and tell you how much Mr. L. and 
I valued his friendship. We saw a good deal 
of him in Castine, and after that he visited us. 
The more we saw of him the fonder we became of 
him. We were impressed by his strength of char- 
acter, and his kindness to everybody. We liked 
to talk with him, and enjoyed his bright young 
manhood and his happy spirits. Underneath it 
all we felt very strongly the unusual seriousness 
of his nature, and his determination to be of use 
in the world. Now he is gone, we feel the loss 
very keenly." 

The principal of the Boston Latin School, 
where for six years Gardner was a pupil, 
writes : — 

" It affords me satisfaction to tell you, I am not 
unmindful of the great loss which this community 
has sustained by the death of Gardner. No one 
can recall his association with him without bring- 


ing up the pleasantest memories of a noble life, 
which gave the promise of a most beneficent influ- 
ence in his future career. How pure and gentle 
even in his school-days, yet firm as a rock for the 
right ! How honorable and true in manhood ! 
Such a life leaves behind it a fragrance that is 
rare, and ascends to heaven. The memory of it 
comforts and consoles even in the agony of be- 
reavement. When Gardner gave me his photo- 
graph in 1889, it found a resting-place here, and 
has never been removed. Many a time have I 
looked on the likeness with satisfaction that so 
honorable a boy was once my pupil." 

The wife of one of the professors at Harvard, 
in whose home Gardner was a frequent guest, 
wrote his sister, — 

" It seems doubly sad that one so fitted for 
life must leave it almost as soon as he had shown 
his real qualities. I always had great faith in 
your brother's possibilities. His unusual execu- 
tive abilities and his faithfulness to little duties 
seemed to me a rare combination. We had va- 
rious long talks together, in which he impressed 
me strongly with his high, manly purposes and 


Rev. Dr. G. writes : — 

" There is in my heart a great sadness that I 
should miss — and always on this earth — the 


face of the eager and fine-spirited son — pride of 
his home, of whom I, as friend and fellow fra- 
ternity man, thought so much. Hearty is my 
sympathy with you in this great sorrow." 

A saintly friend, who has since passed to her 
reward, says, June 27 : — 

" I believe the Lord called Gardner to the won- 
derful work he has achieved at the South ; called 
him to be the helper of hundreds of toiling men ; 
called him to manifest to them how rich, and 
deep, and full an earthly life can be, through 
earnest, faithful, consecrated work; and in so 
laying secure foundations for happy human 
homes, and an orderly civil life. How many 
hearts are touched to finer issues, through the 
quickening power of his noble self-forgetting 
manhood ; how long will shine in those distant 
States the beacon light of his loving, tireless 
influence ! " 

A letter from Mrs. N. expresses bereavement : 
" We also feel this sorrow as a personal one, 
for we have lost a dear friend in your son. He 
was more of a comfort to us in our trouble than 
words can express, so often sending us expressions 
of tender sympathy when our hearts seemed 
breaking with grief. He was so cheerful, coura- 
geous, and true under all circumstances that it 
seems as though a bright light had been put out, 


and the world left poor and dark without his 
radiant spirit." 

Mr. N. writes : — 

" I well remember my first sight of Gardner. 
I can see him yet at some distance from the house, 
as he was coming towards me, with one of my 
own boys on either side of him, — tall and erect, 
so full of life and vigor, so much of manliness 
even then in his whole make-up, and yet so mod- 
est, and as gentle as a child. From the first he 
won a warm place in our hearts, and our home 
was open to him as it had never been opened to 
any one before or since. Those were lovely sum- 
mer days he spent with us; the young people 
were fresh from school, with all restraint lifted, 
and they were able to enjoy to the full whatever 
came to them. 

" I was delighted to see how readily he adapted 
himself to all the different forms of enjoyment 
that were before him, always winning the esteem 
and respect of those with whom he came in con- 
tact. He was in every way a most manly fellow, 
always willing to do his share in the way of 
helping things along, whether in the drawing- 
room, or in a camping expedition, where the re- 
sources were limited, and where much depended 
upon what each one could do to make the expe- 
dition a success. 

" I remember, too, what a great love of nature 


was his ; the woods, the flowers, and the birds, 
as well as the wayside brook, all seemed to be 
old friends; he knew them well, and nothing 
seemed to escape his observation. 

" I noticed, too, his wonderful power to rise 
above the little petty annoyances that are often 
found in the way of complete success in a day's 
outing ; an unfavorable turn in the weather, or a 
dry and dusty road, was taken by him as a matter 
of course, and he would not allow it to interfere 
with the pleasure and enjoyment before him. 
"With all the lovely traits possessed by him, it is no 
wonder that he so thoroughly won his way into 
our confidence and esteem that we were always 
glad to have him with us. It gave me great pleas- 
ure to see him undertake his work in the South ; 
he was so enthusiastic, so self-reliant, and so full 
of confidence, that I had no doubt of his success, 
and the only fear that at times disturbed me was 
that he might overwork, and thus become a victim 
to the terrible typhoid that prevailed in that local- 
ity ; but it never occurred to me that an accident 
of any kind could befall him ; he was so strong, so 
alert, and always seemed so well able to take care 
of himself, that it was long before I could realize 
that he could be so suddenly stricken down." 

" After his terrible injury, what a manly fight 
he must have made for life, lifted up as he was 
by the thought and hope that there might yet be 
a chance for him to do much for those who still 


needed his help ; and when this was denied him, 
his willingness to join in the companionship of 
those who had been among his dearest of earthly- 
friends, to me is very pathetic. 

" I did not intend to say as much as this, but 
my mind has gone back to those happy days that 
will never come back to me, when Gardner and 
my own dear boys were standing on the thresh- 
old of life, with all its pleasant possibilities before 

A business associate says : — 

" I became strongly attached to him during 
my stay with him in the South ; a better or more 
honorable fellow than Gardner never lived, and 
I feel his loss keenly." 

From another business friend comes this mes- 
sage : — 

" I met your son at Chicopee, and at our 
very first interview he won a high place in my 
esteem. His character was so transparent and 
his disposition so genial ; yet, with all his attain- 
ments, he was so unassuming and cordial that, 

' None knew him but to love him, 
None named him but to praise.' " 

A neighbor, whose sons had grown up with 
Gardner, writes : — 

" We all sympathize with you, and feel that 


we, too, have lost a very dear young friend, for 
Gardner was to me the perfect ideal of a young 
man, and as I watched him grow from childhood 
to manhood, I have rejoiced with you that you 
had such a beautiful son." 

A mother in Atlanta, Georgia, tells us : — 
" It must be a great comfort to you to know 
that your son was such a fine character ; that it 
was not just mother love that thought so, but it 
was acknowledged by all with whom he came in 
contact. I shall be happy indeed, and consider 
myself most fortunate, if I can succeed in mould- 
ing my boy into such a man, who possessed the 
respect and love of all who knew him." 

From the " Boston Transcript," June 27, 1896 : 


An ideal life cut short in its marvelous early 
morning strength and beauty ! An ideal charac- 
ter lost to love and honor and service of man- 
kind just as its initial page of manifestation was 
complete ; one matchless page of a singularly 
heroic career, and the book closed by a strangely 
ruthless fate. 

It is a story which could be told as a tale of the 
highest that modern man at his best of knowledge 
and culture and power, and Christian man at his 
richest of grace and truth, has achieved; yet 


achieved with but the step forward from youth, 
and the mere threshold of a great career, which 
death at twenty-five means. 

The Iliad of human and Christian advance in 
the end of the nineteenth century of Christ, and 
in the America which best shows that advance, 
could hardly be written in more fit form than by 
an adequate narrative of the one stage of achieve- 
ments which Gardner Nichols had brought to a 
close when a sudden stroke of fatal injury, and 
some weeks of hopeless heroic struggle, put a 
period to his life. 

Almost immediately upon graduation from 
Harvard University with honors, Mr. Nichols 
undertook an enterprise of difficulty and mag- 
nitude, — that of representing his father, J. 
Howard Nichols, in the creation of a model cot- 
ton manufacturing plant at Alabama City, Ala- 
bama, one of the centres of the new South. Not 
only the knowledge and judgment of a rare 
scholar in practical matters, and an able thinker 
as well, were shown in Mr. Nichols's execution 
of his task, but there appeared in it also, and in 
his life in this new field, a passionate thoughtful- 
ness, an enthusiasm of humanity, of benevolence, 
and of manly piety, which far more revealed the 
Christ of divine love than the master of capital 
and the executor of plans for manufacture and 

The very last touch of the great work which is 


now his monument was the occasion of his death. 
In the placing of a heavy dynamo, a platform 
gave way, and a violent lacerating blow left 
wounds which the surgeons could not hope to 
deal with. Yet for some weeks Mr. Nichols 
made a fight for life which at least added one 
more beautiful memory to a singularly rich 
volume of remembrance. Rev. Dr. Calkins, who 
is assisting this afternoon in the final service at 
Newton, speaks from fifteen years' knowledge, 
when he says that eulogy cannot exaggerate the 
example which this rare gentleman and noble 
Christian has left. 

E. C. T. 

From the " Tribune," Rome, Georgia : — 


I do not know when anything has impressed 
me more deeply than the death of young H. 
Gardner Nichols, in Atlanta. 

So bright, so brave, so young, so full of the 
promise of noble manhood, he was cut down like 
a flower that had reached not its fullness. 

It was my privilege to know him only slightly, 
but the acquaintanceship was one of the pleas- 
antest in my experience. 

As a boy he is said to have displayed evidences 
of those admirable traits of character that devel- 
oped as he grew to man's estate. 


A graduate of Harvard College, he had the 
additional advantage of daily contact with practi- 
cal business methods. 

When the idea of establishing a Southern 
branch was first conceived, he entered into it with 
a spirit and energy that were remarkable in a 
man of his age. 

He was of a careful and painstaking disposi- 
tion, the very soul of energy, active, and filled 
with that forceful enthusiasm which has made the 
name of Americans synonymous with successful 
progressi veness . 

He came South at the time that Gadsden, or 
rather Alabama City, was decided upon as the 
most eligible point for the location of the South- 
ern branch. 

He was untiring in his energy and persever- 
ance. He looked after all the details of the 
construction of the mill, and nothing escaped his 
untiring vigilance. 

He was but twenty-five years old, yet his busi- 
ness sagacity was more highly developed than 
that of most men of twice his age. 

He won friends among his social associates as 
well as among those who had business dealings 
with him, and no man was more popular in the 
circle in which he moved than Gardner Nichols. 

It was with a feeling of sadness ineffable that 
I, even though I was but slightly acquainted with 
the young man, heard of the distressing accident 


that was such a cruel shock to those whose high- 
est hopes were centred upon him. 

He struggled manfully and battled bravely for 
life, and was given every assistance that love and 
devotion could render, but all without avail. 

In the flower of his youth, with the earliest lau- 
rels of youthful achievement fresh and unfaded 
upon his boyish brow, he was removed from the 
earthly sphere which he adorned to that higher 
region beyond our ken. 

He was a true type of the honorable, ambitious 
young American, and he has gone to his grave, 
mourned alike by lifetime comrades and new- 
found friends. 

The light of a hopeful life went out when the 
soul of H. Gardner Nichols took its flight to the 
realms beyond. 

M. M. F. 

The lady whose account of the Memorial 
Service has been given, and who has charge of 
the school established by Gardner, writes again : 

" I do so miss your son ! I often wonder if it 
is possible for him to be missed in all the varied 
departments of the work as he is in mine. It 
seems to me that, next to his immediate family, 
the blow falls most heavily on me. We so often 
discussed together the ways and means to uplift 
his people. Both of us being of a hopeful dis- 
position, we expected in ten years, with a school 


equal in all details to the best, a marvelous 
ohange — a model city with model operatives — 
that is, kindly, industrious, cleanly, and some- 
what advanced in education. But, alas ! alas ! 
for all our castle-building in a missionary way. 
Your son and I attended the Easter services, the 
last time we were together in the little Gadsden 
church. The ' dummy ' not running to accommo- 
date church-goers, we walked back, so as to be 
in time for our own service. I shall never for- 
get that walk. Of course * our work ' was the 
principal theme ; that the want of gratitude, the 
want of appreciation should never deter one from 
a faithful following of duty, — duty, not as the 
world sees it, but as the earnest, humble follower 
of Christ sees it. Appreciation gives courage, 
but courage should be of that kind which does 
not die for want of it. As much as I need the 
school-house, I dread to see it begun, so fearful 
am I that it will be a disappointment. It would 
have been all right, if Mr. Gardner could have 
superintended, as he worked for the future, as 
well as for the present. The day-school closed 
June 26. "Weeks before, the 27th had been set 
for our concert, and we were making elaborate 
preparations for us. But, alas ! instead of songs 
of joy, on that day we held our Memorial Service." 

The following are from men of affairs, whose 
age and experience give weight to their words. 


"Trion, Georgia. 

"I have known enough of your son, and of 
the hopes and plans you had built on the rich 
promise of his young manhood, to have some 
sense of the weight of this blow ; but, even in 
the depth of your grief, you may find comfort in 
recalling his well-spent youth, and the abundant 
measure of pride and satisfaction which has 
already rewarded your fatherly care. Life is not 
measured by length of days, but by the work 
done ; and, so judged, your son lived far longer 
than his years would show ; I would we might all 
say the same ! " 

" Rome, Georgia. 

" In the death of your noble son, the commu- 
nity in which he labored and built so wisely and 
so well has sustained a loss beyond repair." 

" Alabama City, Alabama. 

"My emotion is too great to express, for I 
keenly feel your great loss and ours. I can truly 
say that never in all my life have I met a young 
man who gave promise of a better and more use- 
ful life than your son. You can find great con- 
solation in knowing that you had a noble boy. 
The world would be better did it have more like 

" Gadsden, Alabama. 

" Your son commanded the admiration and 
high esteem of all who had the privilege of 


knowing him, but the kindly courtesies extended 
to me in our business intercourse caused me to 
regard him as my personal friend. His bravery 
aroused the deep admiration of the whole com- 
munity, and his death is a public sorrow." 

The attorneys employed by Gardner write : — 
"My partner and I extend our sincere sym- 
pathy in the great loss you have suffered, and 
which has fallen on us all. During our ac- 
quaintance and association with your son, we 
had learned to esteem most highly his business 
acumen and his moral worth, and we shall ever 
cherish his memory." 

A prominent business man of Gadsden thus 
expresses the sentiment of not only that city, 
but of the whole section : — 

" If there is any consolation in human sym- 
pathy, you, in your deep distress, should be 
greatly comforted. Our whole section, I may 
safely say every man, woman, and child who 
knew your noble son, mourns with you his un- 
timely death. His devotion to business, his ten- 
der regard for the amenities of life, his respect 
and consideration for the worthy poor, won all 
hearts. We shall miss him as no man of his 
age was ever missed in Alabama. He had, as it 
were, become a member of our family. We felt 
for him in all his endeavors, and delighted to 


lend our feeble aid in advancing his interests. 
It is no fulsome flattery to say that your son was 
the best ' all-around ' man of his age I ever knew, 
and in his death our section has suffered an ir- 
reparable loss. He would have done more to 
aid in building up our industrial interests than 
any one will ever do, for his heart was in the 
work. He would have elevated and ennobled 
his operatives, giving them a new idea of life, 
and by a personal supervision of their surround- 
ings he would have awakened higher aspirations. 
All feel this, and doubly mourn his loss. Dear 
friends, your son's precious memory will be per- 
petuated in the magnificent plant erected by him. 
His words of sympathy will be treasured by the 
worthy poor in whom he manifested such an in- 
terest ; and long after you and I have gone to 
meet him in the unknown beyond, the name of 
Gardner Nichols will still be a household word 
in north Alabama. Take comfort in the reflec- 
tion that God honored you to be the parents of 
such a noble son, and let sweet memories of him 
cheer you along life's pathway. When death 
summons you, you know that you will meet him 
among those who honored God and kept his 

The following heart-felt words from men more 
nearly Gardner's age, and who were intimately 
associated with him, not only in business, but 


also in friendly intercourse, throw a still more 
lovable light upon his life and character. 

His instructor in telegraphy says : — 
" I loved your dear boy as if he had been my 
own brother. I was attached to him by esteem 
and affection, and there was nothing in the world 
I would not have tried to do for him. He was 
all that was good and noble. We used to take 
little trips in the mountains together, and would 
stop by some brook and spread our lunch. I re- 
member one evening when we were leisurely rid- 
ing home in the moonlight, that our conversation 
drifted to the pains and sorrows of the world, 
and he said that he was willing to die at any 
time, that death had absolutely no terror for 
him ; and at the same time he remarked that he 
felt his two dear friends, the N.'s, were often 
with him in spirit." 

The three following tributes are from young 
men who were in Gardner's employ : — 

" I cannot express the sympathy I feel for 
you all. If there is anything in the world I can 
do, I shall feel as if I was doing a labor of love 
for my departed friend, whom I miss more and 
more as the days go by. I saw Mr. M. yester- 
day, and he told me all about the services in 
Newton. Was so sorry I could not be there, 
but felt it my duty to stay here. I know Mr. 


Gardner would have thought so. I want to see 
everything carried out as he desired, and will do 
all in my power to that end. All the instruc- 
tions he gave me that last morning before he 
was taken to Atlanta, I have followed as closely 
as I could." 

The next is from a young man who was so 
devoted to Gardner that he wished to watch with 
him day and night. One night Gardner sent 
him from the room four times, telling him to 
" go and get some rest," but each time the poor 
fellow came stealing back, unable to stay away 
from the friend he so much loved, and whom he 
so passionately longed to help : — 

" No one will miss your son more than I, for I 
have lost a friend who could and would do more 
for me than anybody on earth. I shall never 
forget what he has done for me in the last year 
and a half. He was just as good and kind to 
me as if I had been his brother." 

The youngest of the group writes : — 
" I want to express to you my sincere sym- 
pathy and condolence in your great grief, the 
weight of which is surely a heavy burden. I am 
almost overwhelmed with sorrow myself at the 
loss of one whose many acts of kindness and 
expressions of confidence, in both word and deed, 
leave no manner of doubt of his true friendship 


for me. In all my associations with him (nearly 
a year and a half) in his business office, never a 
word of displeasure escaped his lips, nor even a 
sign of impatience was ever visible. He taught 
me what I know of business. He set before me 
many examples of benevolence, morality, Chris- 
tian love, and charity, and I want to say that it 
shall be my purpose in life to emulate his many 
virtues and his noble character as seen by me, 
and that his memory will ever be sacred to me." 

One wonders how many such testimonies of 
patient and upright living could be given. No 
"word of displeasure, no sign of impatience" 
during those months of perplexing care and hard 

As he was in business, so was he in home life, 
as shown by the letter from Mrs. E. : — 

" The remembrance of your noble son here in 
our mountain home comes back so vividly to me 
to-night, as I sit sorrowing over the untimely 
end of his bright young life. Here is where he 
cast his lot among us, and our home was the 
first he called home in this sunny Southland. We 
recall with pleasure his gentle companionship ; 
even the little incidents of his life with us are 
refreshing memories. While he was with us he 
awakened in us the tender interest of sweet 
friendship. Many hearts mourn with you in 


this bitter sorrow, and feel deeply the loss you 
have sustained. We realize that in the death of 
your courageous, noble son our community has 
lost one of its most valuable citizens, one to 
whom we could point our sons as an example of 
manly virtue, energy, ambition, fidelity, courage, 
and endurance. We who knew him in our 
homes know his most lovable traits. We feel 
that our homes have been honored by his abiding 
in them. We shall ever tenderly revere his 
memory, and shall point with pride to the grand 
work of his heart and hands in our midst." 

A Gadsden gentleman writes : — 

" We feel that the half has not been said that 
might have been truthfully written. Gardner's 
life was an inspiration to young men, and one 
that should not and will not be forgotten by 
any who knew him. We miss him very much, 
and shall always remember him with deepest 

The " Tribute of Respect " given below bears 
the date of Gadsden, Alabama, July 9, 1896. 

" Our friend H. Gardner Nichols, having 
passed from this life into the greater and better 
life, the task of delineating his character as a 
man and a friend belongs to those who have 
known him from his youth up. It may, however, 
be permitted his friends who have known him but 


a few short months, yet who have been deeply 
impressed by his noble character, to echo their 
sentiments of deep esteem, and to show in what 
manner he was held by all who knew him well. 
His death, coming as it did without the decay of 
years, a youth cut down in the flower of his young 
manhood, just at the threshold of what gave 
promise of a long and useful career, has its 
peculiar sorrow for those who have been favored 
by his friendship, and are left to mourn his loss. 
He came to this community in the full vigor of 
youth, equipped with an extraordinary intellect, 
and with a form evidencing perfect health, and, 
after but a few months, during which time he 
touched every heart with beautiful and indelible 
impressions, he goes from us, not back to his 
native' land, but, answering ' Ready ! ' to the sum- 
mons to the better world, 'he lies down in the 
night of Death, and awakens in the morning of 
Eternity ! ' Although his career was brief, like a 
meteor it shed forth a brightness which illumined 
the sphere through which he passed. 

" He was honest. In his judgment, honesty was 
an element which every decent character should 
possess. He was ambitious, too, and did possess 
a well-rounded character ; he was ardent and 
honorable as a friend, was no hypocrite, who for 
the sake of policy hid his real sentiments ; he 
was philanthropic, keenly feeling the wants of 
the poor, and his death was their loss. Yet he 


stood not in public places to offer alms, but dis- 
pensed bis gifts witb the quiet reserve of true 
charity. He was deeply religious, in that he be- 
lieved true religion constituted the art of higher 

" His courage was sublime, and when convinced 
of the correctness of his position, threats of per- 
sonal violence could not swerve him the breadth 
of a hair from holding steadfastly to his purpose, 
until the desired end was accomplished. 

" He knew not failure. Difficulties at which 
most men would halt and turn back seemed only 
incentives to a trial of strength, and he would 
attack and overcome them with a spirit and 
adeptness marvelous to behold. His extraordi- 
nary faculty for controlling business affairs came 
not alone from knowledge or experience, there 
was that in him which operated independently 
of tuition. His was the ' spontaneous force of 
an untrammeled soul, genius.' Before reaching 
the age of twenty-four, he was intrusted with a 
work of great proportions, and had nearly com- 
pleted it in a manner above criticism. 

" Having gathered around him, in the little hill 
village, more than a thousand souls who looked 
to him as employer and protector, he had im- 
pressed his individuality upon them by taking 
an active interest in their welfare both temporal 
and spiritual. He was ready to serve, and did 
serve them day and night ; he taught them how 


to live ; visited them when sick, ministering to 
every necessity ; and when he was dying, he 
expressed the greatest sorrow that he should be 
called away before he had completed the work of 
elevating them to a higher plane. 

" Having the interest of his people at heart, and 
being imbued with a spirit of reform antagonistic 
to vices in every form, he was not loath to take 
upon himself the government of the town in 
which he resided, and as its Chief Magistrate 
frame laws that would insure economy, and pre- 
vent a vicious social life. Possessing the air of 
one mature in years, he found pleasure in that 
which was instructive, ever shunning the frivoli- 
ties of life, and never forsaking business obliga- 
tions to take up matters of less importance, but 
ready to step aside to speak a pleasant word 
or to do an act of kindness. One trait of char- 
acter, his faithfulness to his friends, we would 
emphasize again. Those whom he loved never 
tired him ; he drew his friends to him, and bound 
them with the bonds of love, and his friendship 
was always ready for any test or trial. Belong- 
ing to a better and a higher age, he lived in 
advance of his many associates. We, who be- 
lieve the world grows better, and minds grow 
brighter, can foresee many such characters as his 
in the future generations. We look upon his life 
here as one borrowed of the future, and given us 
as one worthy of emulation." 


The Mayor of Gadsden, Alabama, with which 
city Gardner seemed to be almost as closely iden- 
tified as with his own, sends this sincere and lov- 
ing memorial of the friend he valued so highly : 

" The death of Gardner was to me a great 
personal loss and affliction. I knew him inti- 
mately, and had learned to love him as a brother, 
to admire him for his unsullied and exalted char- 
acter, for his many, many noble traits of head and 
heart, and for the wonderfully harmonious devel- 
opment of his faculties. These manly character- 
istics were not held in reserve, and used as on 
' dress parade,' but were conspicuous in his every- 
day life, and were part and parcel of his very 
existence. His manner towards his friends was 
elegant in its naturalness and simplicity, and he 
possessed that indescribable grace called ' charm,' 
in a most marked degree. His every action 
seemed to say, ' I would rather be, than seem to 
be,' and was the very antithesis of show. I want 
to say, for his credit and for your comfort, that 
if ever a young man held as the guiding star of 
his conduct the injunction of Solomon, ' My son, 
hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake 
not the law of thy mother,' Gardner did. His 
devotion to his parents, and his loyalty to the 
teachings you gave him in his early youth, were 
matters which he frequently mentioned in con- 
versation with me, and which he, without excep- 
tion, always exhibited in his conduct towards his 


fellow-men. His observance of proper lines of 
conduct was beautiful ; he was as chaste and 
elegant in his conversation with men as the most 
refined and cultured woman. I always felt bet- 
ter for a long talk with him. He inspired others 
to nobler thought and achievement, and was as 
magnetic and forceful a man as I ever met. He 
was an ornament to his family, and to the grand 
commonwealth which gave him birth, and a bless- 
ing to our loved Southland in which he had cast 
his lot, and where he seemed so happy in the 
great work he wrought. I feel the world is 
better for his having lived in it, and could he 
have been spared to us, what great things were 
in store for him ! In one sense he is not dead, 
for to ' live in the hearts we leave behind is not 
to die.' I often think of the very enjoyable trip 
he and I took to Montgomery about two years 
ago, when I went down to introduce him to my 
friends, Governor Jones and Governor Oates. 
Each of these gentlemen spoke to me of him some 
time afterward. He had impressed them as a 
young man of high character, earnestness, and 
great capacity for affairs. They were delighted 
that he had come to our State and would be one 
of us, predicting that he would be a leader in his 
chosen line of business. Had he lived, I think 
he would have loved our people and been devoted 
to our State. Alabama would have felt the im- 
press of his genius, as our locality now feels it, 


and he would have become a factor in her affairs. 
"We needed him in our midst, and his death is 
the State's loss. It must be your greatest conso- 
lation to know that Gardner was so good; his 
life was an honor to his parents ; and his exem- 
plary conduct worthy of all admiration. Not one 
of the least of his characteristics was his big-heart- 
edness. The poor, the destitute, the afflicted, 
the unfortunate, appealed to his heart with great 
effect. These classes always touched a respon- 
sive chord in his bosom ; for them he had a 
tender sympathy. His inclination in this direc- 
tion was unusually strong, and I am quite sure 
works of philanthropy would have engaged his 
later years had his life been spared. 

" I read a passage not long since, which comes 
nearer describing Gardner than anything I can 
write ; it is this : — 

" ' He was chaste in his life, just in his dealings, 
true to his word, merciful to those who were 
under him, and hating nothing so much as idle- 
ness ; in matters especially of moment, he was 
never wont to rely on other men's care, how 
trusty or skillful soever they might seem to be, 
but, always contemning danger and refusing no 
toil, he was wont himself to be one (whoever was 
a second) at every turn where courage, skill, or 
industry was to be employed.' This quotation 
would make a fitting epitaph for his monument." 



passed by gadsden city council on the death of 
hon. h. gardner nichols. 

Council Chamber, City of Gadsden, Ala. 

Call meeting of the Board held this 23d day 
of June, 1896. Mayor Mitchell explained object 
of the meeting to take action on the death of 
the Hon. H. Gardner Nichols, which occurred at 
5.13 P. M., this instant, at Dr. Holmes's Sani- 
tarium, in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. 

After a tribute to the memory of the deceased 
by Mayor Mitchell, Alderman Green offered the 
following preamble and resolutions, which were 
adopted by a unanimous vote : — 

Whereas, We learn of the death of our late 
fellow citizen, the Hon. H. Gardner Nichols, 
mayor of Alabama City, as the result of an acci- 
dent which occurred at the Dwight Mill, on the 
20th of May, striking down in the very dawn of 
his young manhood one of the grandest charac- 
ters with whom it has ever been our fortune to 
meet, bringing sorrow to the hearts of all our 
people without regard to rank or station, 


Be it Resolved, That this Board, represent- 
ing and voicing the sentiments of all and every 
class of our population, hereby tender to the 
family of the deceased our heartfelt sympathy, 
assuring them that we feel that Massachusetts, in 
giving us as a citizen Hon. H. Gardner Nichols, 
gave us one of her brightest jewels, and we 
honored and loved him as though he was "to the 
manor born." Alabama mingles her tears with 
Massachusetts in this sad hour, and we can truly 
say that the short life of Mr. Nichols demon- 
strated the fact that sterling worth, active indus- 
try, strict fidelity, and noble charity are always 
appreciated, and are honored and respected in 
every land and by all people. 

The Hon. H. Gardner Nichols's memory will 
live in Alabama so long as the noble qualities 
of heart and mind he possessed are appreciated, 
and his example of exalted manhood will be re- 
membered as a beacon light to which the young 
men of our State will be pointed as worthy of 
their highest emulation. 

Resolved, That as a mark of the high esteem 
and appreciation in which the Hon. H. Gardner 
Nichols was held by our citizens, the Hon. R. A. 
Mitchell, mayor of the city of Gadsden, and Mr. 
T. S. Kyle be, and they are hereby appointed by 
this council as an escort to attend the body from 
Atlanta to Boston ; and that this preamble and 
these resolutions be spread upon the minutes, 


and that a copy of the same be forwarded to 
the family of Mr. J. Howard Nichols, at Boston, 

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the 
people of our neighboring town, Alabama City, 
in their loss of the official head of that munici- 
pality, their distinguished young mayor, who had 
the development of that city and the welfare of 
its people so deeply at heart ; to them it is an 
irreparable loss. 



The following resolutions of respect were 
passed at a meeting of the Council of Alabama 
City, on Saturday, June 27, 1896 : — 

Whereas, It hath pleased Almighty God to 
remove from our midst our beloved mayor, the 
Hon. H. Gardner Nichols, and 

Whereas, Our said mayor, although a com- 
parative stranger to our community, had en- 
deared himself to every one in both his official 
and private capacity, by his uniform courtesy, 
kindness, and high character, to such an extent 
that he was elected to the position of mayor 
without opposition, and 

Whereas, His death has removed a noble and 
fearless official, an honored citizen, and a be- 
loved friend, be it 


Resolved, By the City Council of Alabama 
City, that in his death our city and entire com- 
munity has lost one of its truest and purest citi- 
zens, and our Board its wise and honored head ; 
and that the enterprise of which he was the 
founder has suffered an irreparable loss. 

2. Be it further Resolved, That our tender- 
est condolence be and it is hereby extended to 
the bereaved family, and in this hour of their 
deepest sorrow we point them to that All-wise 
Providence who doeth all things well. 

3. Be it further Resolved, That a copy of 
these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of 
this body, a copy furnished the county papers 
for publication, and a copy sent to the parents 
of our deceased friend. 

At a meeting of the directors of the Dwight 
Manufacturing Company, Boston, June 29, 1896 : 

" On motion of Mr. Amory A. Lawrence, duly 
seconded, the following resolution was unani- 
mously adopted : — 

" The Directors have heard with the greatest 
regret of the death of Mr. Howard Gardner 
Nichols, caused by an accident while in the dis- 
charge of his duties at the Alabama City Mill. 

" We appreciate his high character, his indus- 
try, and great promise, and sympathize most 
deeply with his father in his great bereavement. 

" This resolution to be placed in the records." 




Since it has pleased Almighty God in His di- 
vine wisdom to take from among us the soul of 
one of our most beloved Vestrymen, H. Gardner 
Nichols, a man most closely identified with the 
best interests, and foremost in work in behalf 
of the Church of the Holy Comforter, of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church at Gadsden, Ala- 
bama, and whose charm of personality and chari- 
table consideration were so prominently marked ; 
a young man of keen intellect and sterling quali- 
ties, spotless character and kindliness of heart, 
endearing him to all, he strove to advance the 
cause of the Master in many ways. 

May his influence not be lost ; may it shed a 
ray of hope and encouragement about us which 
shall brighten the veil which God in His infinite 
wisdom has seen fit to let fall upon our Church. 

Close as were the ties which bound him to us, 
we recognize that there are others to whom our 
deceased friend was held by still more sacred 
bonds, and it is the desire of this Vestry to ex- 
tend to the sorrowing family our heartfelt sym- 
pathy in their bereavement. May they, as well 
as we, feel that it is the will of our Father, " who 
doeth all things well." 

Resolved, That as a formal and lasting expres- 


sion of our sorrow at his sudden and untimely 
death, these humble and inadequate resolutions 
be enrolled upon our minutes as suggestive of 
the love and esteem in which he was held by the 
members of this Vestry ; and be it further 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be 
sent to his bereaved parents. 

Otto Agricola, Warden. 

John C. Pugh. W. W. Pettis. 

O. R. Goldman. Geo. W. Bowen. 

Joseph Balfour. Calvin D. Clarke. 

On a recent visit made by Mr. Nichols to Ala- 
bama City, the first since the death of his son, 
he accepted an invitation to meet the operatives, 
at which time the following resolutions were 
adopted : — 

" We, the former employees of the late H. 
Gardner Nichols, who, as agent for the Dwight 
Manufacturing Company at this place, did so 
much for our comfort and happiness as to place 
us under lasting obligation to him ; 

" And whereas we, the remaining employees of 
said Company, who served under him here, feel- 
ing that we have sustained an irreparable loss in 
his sad and sudden death, desire to give expres- 
sion to our feelings of sorrow and bereavement, 
therefore, be it resolved, that we rejoice in the 
presence of the father of him we admired and 
loved, and give him our cordial greetings and 


sincere welcome, and extend to him, and through 
him to his bereaved family, profound sympathy, 
and assure him that we shall ever cherish feelings 
of gratitude and love for his noble son." 

It has been the effort of the writer of this 
Memorial to place before Gardner's friends a 
picture of the true-hearted, honest boy, who de- 
veloped into a noble, fearless, upright man; to 
show him as he was to his family, his friends, 
and those dependent upon him, and to do it with 
the loving simplicity which befits such a story 
of unselfish, loyal devotion to duty. 

In this connection it seems fitting to quote one 
striking instance of the influence flowing from 
his life, and bearing fruit in the life of an entire 

A college classmate of one of Gardner's sisters, 
who had visited the Newton home and knew him 
well, writes from her place of residence in Illi- 
nois : — 

" Sunday night, at our League service, the last 
person to speak was a gentleman about thirty- 
five years of age. He said, in substance, ' Yes- 
terday, while waiting in a business office, I picked 
up a paper. It was a mill paper, and my eye 
rested upon the notice of the death of a young 
man ; it told of the beautiful life he had lived, of 
his care for those under him, of his manly noble- 
ness, and most of all of that Christian character 


which enriched his whole nature. I read on and 
on, thinking how such a life must have a force 
for good in that community. I do not know the 
young man, — he lived down South ; but this I 
do know : reading the account of the beauty and 
nobility of that character has influenced my life, 
and made me start out to strive more earnestly 
to live just such a life of usefulness.' 

" After the meeting I spoke to the gentleman, 
saying I thought I knew to whom he referred, 
and mentioned your brother's name; he said I 
was right — it was Gardner Nichols of whom he 


Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

Form L9 — 15m-10,'48 (B1039 ) 444 




In memoriam, 

275 Howard Gardner 
N5I3 ^Nicnolsc 





AA 000 661 681 7